13 Rivers is Thompson’s first collection of new material since 2015’s Still.
It also marks Thompson’s first self-produced record for over a decade and he feels this makes for an emotionally direct album that speaks from the heart with no filters.
“This has been an intense year for myself and my family,” says Thompson. “Getting older doesn’t mean that life gets easier! There are surprises around every bend. I think this reflects in the immediacy of the stories, and the passion in the songs. Sometimes I am speaking directly about events, at other times songs are an imaginative spin on what life throws at you. The music is just a mirror to life, but we try to polish that mirror as brightly as possible.”
The thirteen-track album was recorded in Los Angeles, and features his regular accompanists, Michael Jerome and Taras Prodaniuk, and Richard’s guitar tech, Bobby Eichorn, on second guitar.
Tracks were recorded analog, with a stripped down, bare-bones approach and minimal overdubbing.
“Boulevard is a really funky-looking studio,” says Richard, “but it sounds great. It used to be called The Producers Workshop, and was owned by Liberace, whose ghost is reportedly still hanging around. Steely Dan records were done there, and The Wall by Pink Floyd was mixed there. Clay Blair, the engineer, is a Beatles nut, and has every piece of Beatles gear he can lay his hands on – so if things sound a bit like Abbey Road, so be it!”
He adds, “I don’t know how the creative process works – I suppose it is some kind of bizarre parallel existence to my own life. I often look at a finished song and wonder what the hell is going on inside me. We sequenced the weird stuff at the front of the record, and the tracks to grind your soul into submission at the back.”